Stronger connection, greater trust in Australia within Chinese-Australian communities
A new Lowy Institute survey of public opinion in Chinese communities in Australia has found an increased sense of community belonging, a reduced prevalence of race-based attacks and significant trust in Australia as a global actor.
The 2023 edition of the Being Chinese in Australia survey is the third annual survey of public opinion among Chinese-Australian communities. Project Director and Research Fellow Dr Jennifer Hsu said the survey helps to understand the views of a cultural group that makes up more than five per cent of the Australian population.
“This survey is important at a time when the effects of growing geopolitical competition are being felt in Australia,” Dr Hsu said. “In recent years, Chinese-Australians have come under greater scrutiny, and some have had their loyalty to Australia questioned. Grasping the impact that these and other issues are having on how Chinese-Australians see their place in Australian society is critical to our social cohesion.”
Among the report’s key findings are:
- Most Chinese-Australians have a positive view of Australia.A majority say that Australia is a good place to live and are proud of the Australian way of life and culture. Three-quarters say they feel a moderate or strong sense of belonging — an increase from the 2021 survey. Fewer Chinese-Australians say they have been called offensive names or physically threatened or attacked because of their heritage in the last year. The survey also found an increase in support for democracy as a form of government. Almost half of Chinese-Australians say that democracy is preferable to any other kind of government, an increase of 14 points since 2021.
- Australia tops the list of countries that Chinese-Australians trust most, and no leader we asked about was more trusted than Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. The United Kingdom was the next most trusted country. Former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was the second-most trusted leader. Chinese-Australians trust China and President Xi Jinping less than they did in 2021, but still more than the broader Australian population does.
- Chinese-Australians have varying degrees of trust in the information they consume. Most trust the English-language media in Australia to report news accurately and fairly. But they are divided as to whether Australian media reporting about China is too negative or fair and balanced. Despite relatively high usage of WeChat among Chinese-Australians, just under half doubt the fairness and accuracy of the news and information it provides. Approximately two-thirds say they are confident in their ability to recognise made-up news or disinformation.
- Like the broader Australian population, the issue that most worries Chinese-Australians is a severe downturn in the global economy. Chinese-Australians are less likely than the rest of the Australian population to see China as a military threat. And while a majority of Chinese-Australians believe that the US alliance is important to Australia, support for the alliance is lower than the broader Australian population. A minority of Chinese-Australians think AUKUS and the Quad make Australia or the region safer. A significant majority of Chinese-Australians believe that Australia should be neutral in any conflict between the United States and China, compared to just over half of the general population.
The 2023 edition of the Being Chinese in Australia survey of public opinion in Chinese communities is available as an interactive data presentation. The summary report of the findings by Dr Jennifer Hsu is available to download at the Lowy Institute website.
2023 Being Chinese in Australia: Public Opinion in Chinese Communities reports the results of a nationally representative survey of 1200 adults in Australia who self-identify as of Chinese heritage. The survey was conducted between 27 September and 10 December 2022. This report is part of the Lowy Institute’s Multiculturalism, Identity and Influence Project, funded by the Australian Department of Home Affairs.
Director, Media and Communications